Friday September 21st 2018

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Why can’t I stop smoking, stop drinking or stop taking drugs?

Do you have an addiction problem?

You’re reading this because you are looking for information about “addictions”. I address this to two groups of people in particular.

* The person who thinks s/he has a problem.
* The person trying to drink/drug/behave in moderation.

Many are here because deep down they think they might have a problem. Guess what? If you think you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol, chances are very high that you do.

Some of you may be looking at how to do certain things in moderation. For you, my personal 25 years of research proved to me there are certain things I could not do in moderation.

So, to these two groups of people: there are certain activities you are involved in that try as you might, you just can’t stop doing them. They are at a point where they’re having a negative impact on you and likely those around you. You’ve tried cold turkey, read and done many other things to no avail. You just can’t stop.

So why?

What prevents you to stop smoking, drinking or taking drugs?

Well, I’ll share from personal experience… and my experience has been validated by hundred’s of others I’ve worked with. In every case, it’s not exactly the same, but you will be able to relate.

1. Denial fuels addiction

At first I couldn’t stop because I was in denial that my addiction was a problem let alone an addiction. I’m a strong person and do not consider myself to be of weak character and lacking in will power. If I had a problem, then I was sure I could fix it myself. Remember the Bible, as I recall, says something about “physician heal thy self”.

Over time, signs within me and feedback from others were persistent enough that I started to really wonder if there was a problem. This was the first step of over coming denial and accepting my addictions may be real. Continued research taught me that not only could I not carry out my addictions in moderation, but I was not able to “fix them myself”.

2. Reliance on self keeps you in the problem

Another old saying, anyone who has themselves for their lawyer has a fool for a client”, and for a period I was the fool. Simply put, I learned that I had a problem and could not fix it myself and if it were going to be fixed, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help.

As addiction treatment evolves, the role of “support” comes more and more to the forefront as a key ingredient to successful recovery. If you read the mission statement of Addiction Blog, you’ll learn that there is no one way to address your addictions, and there are options as to the help available. Read the contributions that have been made on this site and learn of the options and know that “addiction treatment” is very slowly changing. Know also that a vast majority of family physicians know very little about treatment and addiction. They do see the physical results. Get help that works for you from a source that knows the issue intimately.

How to get out of the addiction trap

I believe that “specialized support” is a key ingredient for all who want contented freedom from their addictions. “Support” is one of the reasons that coaching is being used more and more by the addicted- either as their primary help point in addressing addiction, as a supplement to other recovery options (12 step groups, counselling) or as the primary support following residential treatment. It is a viable option and I am pleased that the success rate of my carefully chosen clients is very high.

So you can’t stop?…reach out for help

I hope you have a better appreciation of why you can’t and what you have to process to begin real recovery. Action and asking for help are the keys.

I encourage your comments and the suggestions you may have as to topics you’d like addressed from a coaches perspective. Until next week. Live today! Keith

Photo credit: Shifteye

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10 Responses to “Why can’t I stop smoking, stop drinking or stop taking drugs?
Honey Bunny
2:21 am March 12th, 2011

I have a friend who has been balancing on the edge for years about whether or not they have a drinking problem. She cuts back, but always goes back to wine. Since I’ve been in recovery, I hesitate to call anyone an alcoholic (but myself). However, I think that if you are managing your alcohol intake, and keeping track, and “dieting” your wine consumption…you’ve got a problem.

Thanks for the insights. I hope that my friend can read this one day.

Cadan Henry
3:44 am March 14th, 2011

easier said than done never meant more when it comes to overcoming addiction. but once you decide you now have the power. the power to choose your destiny. you almost have to have offended yourself utterly and can no longer stand to be around your old self one more moment


9:41 pm March 14th, 2011

I couldn’t agree more that relying on self will keep you in the problem. I have been trying to quit smoking by myself for at least 10 years and I have to say that it has not been successful. I guess it is time for me to start reaching out for help.

“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times. ”
Mark Twain

Mar y Sol y Luna
1:23 am March 21st, 2011

I’m trying to get myself to admit my problem and get help, but feel stuck. I began a blog today to hopefully make me face my problem and intention, and notice when I am not moving forward… I’m basically digging my own grave.

i really appreciate reading your blog. It is probably my first step toward getting professional help.

Keith Bray
2:12 am March 29th, 2011

Thank you for the interesting comments. I am available at no cost if anyone wants to talk about the content of their comments!

Carl Barrowclift
8:53 pm December 1st, 2011

Waking up 5 years after having stopped Drinking, Smoking, Snorting coke, is a real testiment to how bad I wanted to stop, yes I stopped everything on the same day, no slow down or advice prior, just woke up and wanted to be the person I am now, how crazy is that.

9:32 pm October 10th, 2012

I don’t take drugs all the time but used to,now I take them every now and again even tho I know they make anxious and extremely paranoid and really need to stop doing this before I do something stupid can you help with this

6:58 pm October 12th, 2012

Hi Darren. If you are ready for help, you can talk with your general physician first, or seek help directly with an addiction/drug abuse specialist. Talk therapy can really help you understand what triggers you to use drugs, as well as the underlying psycho-emotional issues which compel compulsive use. Are you ready to seek help?

6:48 pm May 28th, 2015

I am so desperate. Drinking and smoking for years. After binge drinking the depression I feel is so intolerable. I can’t stand being conscious. I have so many gifts that I’ve never been able to manifest. I need people SO much, but when I feel this way, I don’t have the desire to reach out. Years and years of therapy, spiritual connections, but still feeling so alone.

4:20 am January 29th, 2016

I was doing good after the loss of my better half 2 years ago. He made it almost impossible to stop as I would come home and he’d be doing it. Then a friend of mine sent a lady in my area because she knew I was lonely. Oh my god it’s out of control and don’t know what to do. I can never ever ever let my elderly parents know.

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About Keith Bray

I am a Master Life Coach who is ICF certified and a certified addictions coach. I consider myself recovered from the effects of addiction (16 years) but still in recovery mode as it relates to personal growth. Professionally, I am university educated, a former corporate CEO and have been in the consulting business for over two decades. I'm a husband, father, grandfather, friend, uncle son, a trusted confidant and many other things but bottom line, I'm Keith. I hope that I can help SOME out there with ideas that will make you think deeply.